• Bonnie View Nature Area
  • Bonnie View Nature Area
  • Bonnie View Shelter
  • Scott's Branch Trail Wildflowers
  • Wildflowers at Bonnie View Nature Area
  • Bonnie View Shelter and Restroom

Bonnie View Nature Sanctuary

3300 Rollins Rd.

Directions Large Map

Acres: 92.5

Park Hours: 6 am to 11 pm

Nature Trail Miles: 0.9 miles, gravel

Maps & Documents

Park Master Plan - Funded & Future

Park Master Plan - Funded

Map of Bonnie View Nature Sanctuary

Park Amenities

Park Rules

The Bonnie View Nature Sanctuary is a unique, 92.5-acre park dedicated to preserving the natural beauty and history of Columbia and providing an urban wildlife sanctuary for native plants and animals. The Nature Sanctuary provides an educational opportunity about the natural environment of Missouri to visitors of all ages. To help ensure that the Nature Sanctuary operates within the Parks and Recreation mission and guests enjoy the benefits of the Nature Sanctuary, please follow these guidelines:

Park Hours: 6:00 am to 11:00 pm.

  1. No collection, destruction or defacement of anything, living or non-living, in the Nature Sanctuary.
  2. Please do not feed the wildlife or birds that inhabit the Nature Sanctuary.
  3. Please keep bikes off nature trails, and all hikers should stay on designated nature/walking trails.
  4. No dogs or domestic pets at the shelter or west of the Scott’s Branch Trail.
  5. No skateboarding within the parking lot, shelter, or on the Prairie Education Trail. Skateboards are allowed on the Scott’s Branch Trail.
  6. No picnicking in areas other than the designated shelter area.
  7. No amplified music at any time. Amplified sound, such as a PA system, may be used from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm by permit only. Permits are issued by completing a Park Special Use Permit form and a Sound Amplification Equipment Registration application with the Columbia Police Department.
  8. All other park rules apply – see Columbia Code of Ordinances, Chapter 17.

Bonnie View Bench Donation Opportunities

All bench sites on Scott’s Branch Trail have been adopted. Please check other park web pages for donation opportunities or contact our Park Construction Supervisor at 874-7520.

Map of Scott’s Branch Trail Benches

Program Information and Order Form


Park History

F. Garland Russell, Jr. contacted the Parks and Recreation Department in 1993 expressing the Russell family’s desire to donate land “for the purpose of a park or nature preserve.”

Upon the death of F. Garland Russell, Sr. in April 1999, the City of Columbia received the family’s donation of approximately 90 acres in southwest Columbia. The family farm had been originally purchased by Francis T. Russell, a Union officer during the Civil War, and multiple generations of the Russell family had grown up on the farm.

In 2001 the City of Columbia acquired another large property – an 111-acre tract with a lake from Stephens College, now known as Stephens Lake Park. The need to develop master plans for these two sizable properties was the impetus for updating the “Facility Needs” portion of the Parks, Recreation, and Open Space Master Plan. In Fiscal Year 2001, the City budgeted $60,000 for the master planning process.

The Parks and Recreation Department conducted an extensive public-input process for the master planning for these two properties, as well as the citywide park system. This resulted in the completion of the 2002 Facility Needs Update of the Parks, Recreation, and Open Space Master Plan.

When the planning process specifically for the Bonnie View property was brought forward in 2003, the proposed extension of Cunningham Road through the park was a controversial issue. The Bonnie View park master planning was delayed pending the outcome of the proposed Cunningham Road extension.

On November 17, 2008 the City Council approved an ordinance removing Cunningham Road as a future neighborhood collector from its existing terminus to Rollins Road from the Major Roadway Plan. A report regarding the planning process was presented at the September 21, 2009 Council Meeting where the Council instructed staff to begin the master planning process for the Bonnie View property anew.

The planning process began again with the October 7, 2009 interested parties meeting where feedback was collected from the public as to what type of park and amenities they would like to see developed on the site. Focus group meetings were held Jan – July, 2010 to gather input from interested parties. After analyzing the input received, park planners developed a proposed master plan for Bonnie View/Fairview Parks.

Funding in the amount of $300,000 for the development of the Bonnie View property was approved in the 2005 Park Sales Tax Ballot and was budgeted in the City’s Fiscal Year 2010 Capital Improvement Program.

After about ten years of working through the public planning process, a master plan for the property and the development project were approved at the March 21, 2011 Council Meeting. Council also approved a motion by Council representative Dudley to amend the ordinance to change the name of the park from Bonnie View Nature Area to Bonnie View Nature Sanctuary. An amendment to Chapter 17 to restrict dogs and cycles at Bonnie View Nature Sanctuary was approved at the May 16, 2011 Council Meeting.

The Parks and Recreation Department contracted a land survey for legal lot purposes before proceeding with the park development. Construction work began in 2011.

Park Planning History

Three proposed master plan options were prepared by Parks and Recreation planning staff, posted on the web, and displayed in various public buildings for the public to review. A public planning meeting for the property was held on January 30, 2003, at the ARC where the three proposed master plan options for the property were presented. The public was invited to complete a survey giving their input in the master planning of this property via the web or by completing a hard copy at the planning meeting, public library, Daniel Boone building, or the ARC. Parks and Recreation staff has reviewed the survey comments from the public. Based on information gathered at these hearings the three plans were modified and submitted to the City’s Planning Department. These plans are labeled as Option A, Option B and Option C and represent the various access routes into and through the park.

Option A: Shows access to the park on the north from Rollins Road and on the east from a new access road from Fairview Road.

Option B: Identical to Option A on the north, but shows Weaver Drive, a local street stub off Bray Avenue, extended into the park from the south. 

Option C: Shows Cunningham Road extended from Bray Avenue on the south through the park connecting to Rollins Road on the north.

In early 2003 the City Planning Department was directed to evaluate the impact to the City’s transportation routes if the Cunningham Road extension is removed from the City’s Transportation Plan.

The Planning Department routed the proposed plans to City departments soliciting their comments. Comments were received from the Planning Department, Public Works Department, and the Fire Department. All the departments that commented on this issue favored the extension of Cunningham Road from Bray Avenue to Rollins Road as a means to improve street connectivity and provide reduced response time for emergency vehicles to the surrounding area.

In addition, a connection to Fairview Road will be considered in order to provide non-residential traffic a primary access to the park and its attractions, such as the nature center. This road would connect from Fairview to the extended Cunningham Road. This became Option “D.”

Option D: Identical to Option C, but adds a connecting road from Cunningham Road west to Fairview Road.

Other comments requested appropriate design features such as pedways, traffic calming, extension of cul-de-sacs on stub streets, storm water detention and water quality measures, hydrant spacing and fire flows, and other needed elements be incorporated into park development plans.

In October, 2003, a survey was conducted with two 2nd grade classes and two 5th grade classes at Fairview Elementary School and portions of two 6th and two 7th grade classes at Smithton Middle School to get youth input for the development of the Bonnie View property.

The City Council referred the proposed master plans to the Parks & Recreation Commission and the Planning and Zoning Commission for their comments.

A Public Hearing on the proposed master plan for development of the Bonnie View property was held at the Parks and Recreation Commission meeting on Thursday, November 13, 2003. The Commission voted to recommend Option A to the City Council.

A Public Hearing regarding the road plan on the proposed master plan for development of the Bonnie View Property was held at the Planning and Zoning Commission meeting on Thursday, November 20, 2003. The Commission voted to recommend Option A to the City Council.

Planning Director Roy Dudark presented four options to the City Council on December 15, 2003, to extend roads from Cunningham Road through the park. The City Council agreed to move the issue to a work session.

The Columbia City Council held a work session to discuss the proposed Bonnie View Park Master Plan on Wednesday, March 10, 2004 at 6:00 pm. At this meeting, Council requested additional information from City staff.

On November 17, 2008 The City Council approved an ordinance removing Cunningham Road from the Major Roadway Plan as a future neighborhood collector from its existing terminus to Rollins Road. (See related Planning Department Report – September 25, 2008)

Funding for the development of the Bonnie View property was approved in the 2005 Park Sales Tax Ballot. Phase I of the park development is funded in Fiscal Year 2010 (October 2009 – September 2010 in the amount of $300,000. The public had opportunity to provide input during the master plan process when the project was brought forward for development in 2010. (See Interested Parties Meetings held in 2009/2010.)

Capital Improvement Projects and Other Council Items

Year Completed Project Description
2013 Bonnie View Nature Sanctuary Development
2014 Council Item: Donation of West Lawn Property (adjacent to Bonnie View)